Category Archives: God’s Plan

God’s Recipe (OBJ LESSON)


Cake - ChocolateTime

10 minutes
Description

This object lesson shows how God uses both good and bad things in our life to make us into the person we are.  It uses the analogy of baking a cake with all its ingredients.

Scriptures

  • Romans 8:28

 

Materials

  • Flour (about half a cup)
  • Baking soda (about half a cup)
  • Salt (about half a cup)
  • Vinegar (about half a cup)
  • Baking powder (about half a cup)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (about half a cup)
  • Sugar (about half a cup)
  • Eggs (2)
  • Milk (about half a cup)
  • Vegetable oil (about half a cup)
  • Plastic spoons (10)
  • Snack cakes (10 – chocolate flavor – something from Little Debbie’s or something similar)
  • Table (1)
  • Chef costume (optional – apron, chef’s hat wooden spoon, etc.)
  • Slip of paper with Romans 8:28 written on it.
  • Bible

 

Preparation

  • Line your ingredients up in small containers on a table in the front of the room.
  • Place a spoon in front of each ingredient.
  • Write the Scripture on the slip of paper, and put the slip of paper in your chef’s hat or somewhere else you can easily get to it during the lesson.
  • Hide the snack cakes somewhere that no one will be able to see them.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “How many of you like cake?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Me, too!  I love it!”
  • “Hey, if you like cake, maybe you can help me with something!”
  • “Can I get ten volunteers to come up front?” (Select 10 volunteers.  Have each one take up a position behind one of the ingredients.  If you don’t have enough participants, have some of them taste more than one ingredient in the upcoming demonstration.)
  • “So, I like cake a lot, and you like cake a lot, right?”
  • “Then, let’s make some cake!”
  • “I have this recipe.”  (Hold up a sheet of paper to represent your recipe.)
  • “It says we need flour, baking soda, salt, vinegar, baking powder, cocoa, sugar, eggs, milk, and vegetable oil.”  (Point out the different ingredients as you mention them.)
  • “That’s why I need you guys.  Each one of you is responsible for one of these ingredients.”
  • “So, let’s see…the recipe says, ‘Preheat oven to 350 degrees.’”
  • “Oops, I forgot to do that part.”
  • “’Grease and flour two, nine-inch cake pans.’”
  • “Uh-oh…I didn’t do that, either.”
    “’Mix all the ingredients for three minutes.  Then pour into cake pans and bake in over for 35 minutes…’”
  • “35 minutes!  That’s WAY too long!  We don’t have that kind of time.”
  • “I’ve got a better idea!”
  • “Let’s just eat the ingredients one at a time.”
  • “They are all going to the same place anyway, right?”
  • “When they get to our bellies, they will mix together to make a cake!”
  • “So, here’s where I need your help!”
  • “I need each of you to take one spoonful of your ingredient and tell us how it tastes.” (Most won’t want to try their ingredient, but urge them a few times.  If they still don’t want to do it, say, “Oh, all right!  I’ll try it.” Then, make a big show of how bad it tastes.  Gag, sputter, buckle your knees, gasp, whatever…  Even if they try their ingredient first, you should also try it.  The only exception would be the eggs, because eating raw eggs might make you sick.)
  • “That was absolutely terrible!”
  • “Only the sugar and milk tasted good.”
  • “I love cake, and it always tastes soooooo good!  Why do the ingredients taste soooooo bad?” (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Oh!  You mean they only taste good when you mix them all together?”
  • “That reminds me of a Bible verse!”  (Take off your hat, and pull out the slip of paper with the Scripture on it.  Ask one of your volunteers to read it aloud.)
  • “This Scripture means that God uses ALL THINGS for our good – good things and bad things – good ingredients like the sugar and milk and bad ingredients like the baking soda and vinegar.”
  • “God mixes them all together in our lives to help make us into the people He wants us to become.”
  • “This won’t happen right away…it will take time.”
  • “Many times in life, we have to go through tings that are really bitter and unpleasant.”
  • “At the time, they seem terrible, but God has a recipe, and He will take that bad thing and make something good out of it if we will just be patient and wait for Him to work.”
  • “But if we will trust God with even the bitter stuff in our lives, He will bring the sweetness out – just like in these cakes that I forgot I bought this weekend!!!”  (Give each volunteer one of the snack cakes.)
  • “How do those taste?”  (Acknowledge responses.  Then thank and dismiss your volunteers.  Use the Debriefing Questions and the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the learning.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. Why do you think God allows us to go through the bitter and difficult things in our lives?
  2. Have you ever been through something terrible but then seen later how God used it to help you?  (Allow one or two to share their examples.)
  3. Based on what you’ve learned, how will you handle those bitter and difficult times in the future?

 

Rhyme Time

Sometimes we’ve got to wait

For God to make it great!

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Filed under Failure, faith, God's Plan, Object Lesson, struggles, Suffering

Lemme See (QUICK DRAMA)


DESCRIPTION

This short drama reenacts the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector from Luke 19:1-10.  It is intended to make the story a little easier for young minds to understand or to give new perspective for older minds.

 

PREPARATION

  • Have a ladder ready and off to the side for “Zach” to use.
  • Assemble a costume for the person playing Jesus (white robe, sash or shawl, beard, etc.)

 

 

SCENE:         A crowd of three or four people is standing around waiting for something special to happen and straining to see who is coming in the distance.  Zach enters from behind the crowd but can’t see what all the excitement is about. The actor should come in on his knees to simulate being much shorter than all the others.

 

Zach –              “Hey, what’s going on?”

 

Person 1 –        (Not even looking at Zach but still watching for something special to happen) “Quiet down, little man!  We’re waiting for the miracle worker.”

 

Zach –              (Trying to pry a space between people so that he can see) “Miracle worker?  I want to see!  Can you let me through?”

 

Person 2 –        (Intentionally blocking his way) “Oh, no you don’t!  The miracle worker isn’t interested in someone like you.  You’re a bad person!”

 

Zach –              (Trying to pry a space between people in another part of the crowd) “Come on, guys! I just want to see him!  I heard he has someone like me on his team.”

 

Person 3 –        (Blocking the way) “You mean a tax collector?  (Looking puzzled and asking a question of the person next to him/her) Yeah, why DID he pick that Matthew guy to be on his team?  All those tax collectors are criminals.  He must have chosen Matthew because he is rich from stealing our money!”

 

Zach –              (Still trying to break through) “I don’t think that’s why…I heard Matthew left all his money behind when he followed the miracle worker.  Please let me through!  I should be allowed to see him, too!”

 

Person 1 –        (Blocking the way) “Not if I can help it!  Any miracles he does today will be for me!”

 

                        (Zach realizes he can’t get through the crowd and comes up with a better idea.  He grabs a ladder and climbs up on top (on his knees if possible and safe).  Just then, Jesus arrives and calls out to him.)

 

Jesus –             “Hi, Zach!  What are you doing up there?  Come down so that I can spend some time with you!”

 

                        (The crowd gasps!  Zach climbs down and forces his way through the crowd to Jesus.)

 

Person 2 –        “Doesn’t he know what a bad person that guy is?”

 

Person 3 –        “That’s TWO tax collectors he has talked to!  What kind of miracle worker is this?”

 

Person 1 –        “Hey, what about me?  I want a miracle!”

 

Zach –              (Looking up at Jesus) “Jesus, they are right.  I’ve been a bad person…but I’m willing to fix it right here and right now!  I will give half of what I own to the poor, and I’ll pay back anyone I’ve cheated four times as much as I took!”

 

Jesus –             (Smiling) “Okay, Zach, it’s a start…and a good one.  I don’t care as much about what you’ve done in the past as I do about what you choose to do today, and you are choosing well.”

 

Zach –              (Taking Jesus by the hand and walking toward the door) “I want you to meet my friends.  (Pausing)  Uh….they are a lot like me…you don’t mind, do you?”

 

Jesus –             “Of COURSE I don’t mind, Zach…those are exactly the people I came to find.  I want to meet all your friends!”

 

Zach –              “Awesome!  They are going to love you! (Pausing before opening the door) Hey, can you do one of those miracles and make me taller?”

 

Jesus –             (Opening the door for Zach, and walking through) “Zach, you stood taller today than you have in your entire life!”

 

EXIT

 

END SCENE

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Filed under drama, forgiveness, God's Plan, Obedience, Quick Drama, Repentance, salvation, Transformation, unconditional love

The Rest of the Story (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson tells of Jesus’ resurrection and the restoration of Peter to leadership.  Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus forgave him three times just so that he would know and understand that he was completely forgiven and that God could still use him.

 

Scriptures

  • Luke 24:37-43
  • John 20:1-9; 21:15-19
  • Acts 2:14-41
  • Romans 6:23

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Rest of the Story – Love Signs” (This document has a single page with the three Greek words for love – Agape, Phileo and Eros.)
    • “Rest of the Story – Script Cards” (This is a document with all Peter’s and Jesus’ lines on it to help them during the drama.)
  • Tape
  • Costume for Peter character – fisherman’s hat, fishing pole, tackle box, fishing vest, etc.  Can go barefoot.
  • Costume for Jesus character – recommend a long piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for his head to fit through.  Add a belt around the waist and maybe a sash to drape over one shoulder and under one arm.
  • Something like a net that Peter and the other disciples can cast during the drama scene.
  • Something to act as a boat for the drama scene.
  • Strips of cloth and a piece of fabric to represent Jesus’ grave clothes.
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print the “Script” document mentioned above and cut out the lines for both Jesus and peter to say.  (Optionally, you could write these lines for Jesus and Peter to say on notecards:
    • Peter: I’m going fishing.  Anyone want to come?
    • Jesus: Catch any fish?
    • Peter: Nope…nothing!
    • Jesus: Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly ‘agape’ me more than these?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord.  You know that I ‘phileo’ you.
    • Jesus: Feed my lambs.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly agape me?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.
    • Jesus: Take care of my sheep.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you phileo me?
    • Peter: Lord, you know all things.  You know that I phileo you.
    • Jesus: Feed my sheep.
  • Print two copies of the “Love Signs” document mentioned above, and crease it along the lines between each of the Greek words.  Then, fold the paper so that it makes a triangle with one word on each side.  Tape the ends together.
  • Select your volunteer to play Jesus (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him wait off-stage or out of sight.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Select your volunteer to play Peter (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him sit in the audience.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Neatly fold the “grave clothes” and put them somewhere that can represent the garden tomb.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

  • “It’s Sunday.  The Jewish Sabbath day of rest is over.”
  • “In the early morning, several women, who were followers of Jesus, left the house where they were staying and went to anoint Jesus’ body with spices.”
  • “They probably wondered how they were ever going to be able to move the huge stone that covered the opening to the tomb.”
  • “But when they reached the tomb in the garden, the stone had already been rolled away!”
  • “They stepped into the tomb, but there was no body there.”
  • “Suddenly, two angels appeared and said, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; He is risen!  Don’t you remember?  He told you this would happen.’”
  • “The women remembered and ran back to tell the others.”
  • “At first, no one believed them, but Peter and John ran to the tomb and saw for themselves.  Jesus was not there, but his grave clothes were neatly folded where He had been lain.”
  • “When John saw the grave clothes, he believed that Jesus had risen.”
  • “The grave clothes were neatly folded!” (Point to or hold up the “grave clothes.”)
  • “Some people would later say that Jesus’ body was stolen, but no grave robber would take the time to first undress the body and then neatly fold the clothes.”
  • “If they were going to steal the body, they would have had to a) defeat the Roman guards outside the tomb, and these men would fight to the death, because if they lost the body, Pilate would order them killed; b) roll away the stone, which probably weighed over a thousand pounds and would have to be rolled up an incline that was meant to lock it into place.”
  • “After all that exhausting, physical work just to get to the body, do you think they would worry about getting the grave clothes off of the body.”
  • “Besides, that would have meant that they had to carry Jesus’ naked body, and that would have attracted a lot of attention if anyone saw them.”
  • “Nope, when John saw the neatly folded grave clothes, he knew – Jesus had done exactly what He promised – He had raised His own body from the dead!”
  • “Peter, however, still wasn’t sure.”
  • “It wasn’t until Jesus personally appeared to Peter that Peter understood and believed what had happened.”
  • “Then Peter knew that Jesus had to die to take the punishment for our sins, because the Bible says that the payment for sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
  • “But then once the payment was made, Jesus defeated death forever by raising His body back to life!”
  • “Jesus appeared several more times to different people: a few times to the apostles, once to a few men on the road to Emmaus, and once to over 500 people at one time!”
  • “But even with all this excitement, would you believe that Peter once again went back to fishing?”
  • “It’s the truth!  I think he got tired of waiting for Jesus to tell him what to do, so he got up one day and said…”  (Have Peter character stand up where he was sitting and say: “I’m going fishing.  Anyone want to come?”  He can select 4-5 volunteers from the audience to act out the story with him.)
  • “Several of the apostles decided that they would go with him.” (Have them get into the boat and act out whatever you say from this point forward.)
  • “They fished all night long, but they didn’t catch a single fish.” (The volunteers can cast the net over the side of the boat several times to act this out.)
  • “Early the next morning, as the apostles sat or slept in their boat, they heard a call from the shore…” (Have Jesus character call out from the edge of the room: “Catch any fish?”  Have Peter yell back, “Nope.  Nothing!” and then have Jesus call out, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”)
  • “Isn’t that funny?  How could someone on the shore know more about where the fish are at than the fishermen on the water?”
  • “But they tried it anyway, and when they pulled their nets back in, there were so many fish, they couldn’t even haul the net into the boat.” (Have volunteers cast their net one more time onto the kids in the audience and pretend to pull them in.)
  • “John said to Peter, “It’s the Lord,” and Peter immediately jumped into the water to swim to shore, leaving his friends to gather up the fish.”  (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “They had caught 153 really big fish, and when they reached the shore with the boat, Jesus asked them to bring some to put on the fire (where He already had a few fish cooking).”
  • “That morning, they ate together like they used to do before Jesus had been crucified, and they just enjoyed each other’s company for some time in the sun.” (Have volunteers act this out.)
  • “Then Jesus turned to Peter and asked him a serious question…” (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  Peter should reply, “Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you.”)
  • “Jesus may have been asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than all the other disciples.”
  • “After all, Peter had bragged that even if everyone else failed Jesus, he would never fail Him.”
  • “Or Jesus may have been asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than all the fish he had just caught, because every time Peter got the chance, he stopped following Jesus and went right back to fishing.”
  • “But whatever Jesus was talking about there, I don’t want you to miss something really important that is also happening.”
  • “It’s not obvious in the English translation of what Jesus said, because we usually just have one word for love.”
  • “Jesus didn’t speak English.  He spoke Aramaic, a really old language, Hebrew, the Jewish language, and Greek, a language that was common then because it was used for business.”
  • “When He asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus used the Greek word ‘agape’ for love.”  (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly ‘agape’ me more than these?” Hand Jesus the love sign triangle, and have him hold it so that everyone can see the “Agape” side.)
  • “Agape means the best kind of love, a kind that will never give up or go away.”
  • “It’s not puppy love, the warm feeling you get inside when you see someone cute.”
    “This kind of love is an action.”
  • “It’s love that loves you even when you don’t deserve it, even when it’s hard to love you, even when you don’t love the other person back.”
  • “Peter knew that he couldn’t claim to love Jesus like that anymore.”
  • “He had run away, and he had denied Jesus three times.”
  • “So Peter used a different Greek word for love when he answered Jesus. He said…” (Peter: “Yes, Lord.  You know that I ‘phileo’ you.” Hand Peter the love sign triangle, and have him hold it so everyone can see the “Phileo” side.)
  • “Phileo is a weaker kind of love.”
  • “It means ‘brotherly love,’ and it’s where the city of Philadelphia gets its name.”
  • “Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love.”
  • “Phileo is a love that says, ‘I’ll love you because I should.  You’re my brother, after all.”
  • “If you have a brother or sister, you know you are supposed to love them because they are family.”
  • “But if your brother or sister is really mean to you, you might decide to stop loving them.”
  • “There’s an even weaker kind of love that’s called ‘Eros.’”  (Have Jesus and Peter characters hold their triangles to show this side of their sign.) 
  • Eros is the kind of love that says, ‘You’re cute!’”
  • “This is the kind of love that gives boys crushes on girls and girls crushes on boys.”
  • “It only lasts as long as the other person is cute to us.”
  • “So, back to Peter.”
  • “He wanted to say that he would love Jesus with agape love – the kind that never gives up or goes away, but he couldn’t bring himself to boast any longer.”
  • “Peter used to brag a lot, but his failure made him a humble man, and people that knew him said that he was humble for the rest of his life.”
  • “Jesus noticed that Peter changed the word for love, but He just said…” (Jesus: “Feed my lambs.”)
  • “Jesus often referred to His followers as sheep or lambs.”
  • “So, He was telling Peter that he was to be the leader of the Church, that He was to be the shepherd of God’s flock.”
  • “Then Jesus asked again…” (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly agape me?”  Have him show the Agape side of the sign.  Then Peter should say, “Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.”  Have Peter show the Phileo side of his sign.  Jesus should then say, “Take care of my sheep.”)
  • “One last time, Jesus asked… (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you phileo me?”  Have the volunteer show the Phileo side of the sign.)
  • “Did you notice what Jesus did?
  • “Jesus was basically saying “Okay, Peter.  I know you aren’t ready to be bold yet.  It’s okay if all you are willing to do is love me with phileo.  I’m willing to accept that for now.”
  • “But even so, Peter was hurt, because Jesus asked him a third time if Peter loved Him.  So, he said…”  (Peter: “Lord, you know all things.  You know that I phileo you.”  Have Peter character show the Phileo side of his sign.  Then Jesus should say, “Feed my sheep.”  Thank your volunteers, and let them take a seat.)
  • “Did you notice that Jesus asked the question three times?  Does that remind you of anything?”  (Expected response: “Peter denied Jesus three times.”)
  • “Right!  Jesus asked Peter three times, because each time was like an eraser for the times that Peter denied Jesus.”
  • “Jesus was telling Peter, ‘You denied me three times.  I forgive you three times.’”
  • “Jesus was restoring Peter to his leadership of the flock, the Church.”
  • “I’m sure it was painful for Peter to be reminded of the three times he denied he knew Jesus, but it was important that he knew he was completely forgiven and that Jesus still had a leadership role for Peter to fill.”
  • “Peter did take that leadership role.”
  • “On the day of Pentecost (which is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the time for harvesting crops), Peter and the other disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
  • “Peter got up and preached so powerfully that 3,000 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”
  • “He was so powerful spiritually that people were healed when just his shadow fell on them.”
  • “He raised a woman named Dorcas from the dead, introduced the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) to the Gospel and wrote two books of the New Testament (and probably was the person who told Mark all the stories he wrote in his Gospel).”
  • “Peter and his wife were both crucified for their beliefs, but Peter begged to be crucified upside down, because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same way Jesus did.”
  • “I guess you could say that Simon eventually earned his name that means ‘listens and obeys,’ because he listened carefully to everything that God told him.”
  • “And he also earned his name of Peter which means ‘rock,’ because Peter became a solid leader who led the early church.”
  • “After that meeting between Jesus and Peter on the beach, Jesus only stayed on earth for a little longer.”
  • “Then, in front of many witnesses, He rose into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God, the Father.”
  • “There, He prays for us and speaks good things about us to the Father every day.”
  • “And one day, we will get to see Him in all His glory when we join Him in heaven.” (You may want to have the kids say the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the teaching point of the lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

Jesus paid the price I couldn’t give,

And rose again so I could live!

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Filed under Easter, forgiveness, God's Plan, Jesus, Lesson, Peter, Resurrection

Sin Shop (QUICK DRAMA)


Time

5 minutes
Audience

Children, Youth, Adults

 

Description

This quick drama makes the point that the wages of sin are death but that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Materials

  • Table to set Sin Shop items on with their labels
  • Tape to put labels near Sin Shop items
  • Items for your Sin Shop – items labeled (labels are available in the file mentioned below, but feel free to “upgrade” the sins depending on your audience) with various sins.  For example:
    • Lying to Parents
    • Cheating on Math Test
    • Disrespecting Parents
    • Thinking Bad Thoughts
    • Taking Your Brother’s Gameboy
    • Using a Bad Word
    • Little White Lie
  • Basket for shopping
  • Sign for store: “Lou’s Sin Shop” (available in the file mentioned below)
  • Sign that says, “The cost of sin is death” in large letters and “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” in tiny letters.  (If death is a difficult concept for your audience, you can use the sign that says, “The cost of sin is separation from God.”  (You can find these signs and the labels for your sin shop items at www.teachingthem.com on the Lesson and Material Downloads page in a file called, “Sin Shop – Props.”)
  • Small slip of paper with writing on it that can act as a receipt.  Should say, “Paid in Full” on it in large letters.  (An example is provided in the file mentioned above.)
  • Optionally – costumes for your actors – apron for Lou Cipher, the storeowner, and a register or calculator.

 

Preparation

  • Set up the table and the props with their labels to make them look like a counter at a store.
  • Practice the skit, and memorize the lines.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

[PETEY enters Lou’s Sin Shop with a shopping basket.]

PETEY: “Wow!  A sin shop!  Awesome!  I’ve been wanting some of these!”

[PETEY looks through the shelves and selects several items for his basket.]

PETEY: “I’ll take one of these and one of these….oh, and I’ve got to have one of these!”

 

[PETEY goes to register to pay.]

PETEY: “Okay, that will do it.  How much do I owe you?”

[LOU calculates on his register or calculator as he says the following line.]

LOU: “Disrespecting Your Parents…..Taking Your Brother’s Gameboy….Using a Bad Word….Thinking Bad Thoughts…(Be careful with that one.  It’s powerful.)….All together, that’ll be exactly….DEATH.  Paper or plastic?” (Substitute “separation from God” if you prefer.)

PETEY: “Huh? I’m sorry.  It sounded like you said, “death.”  Did you mean “deal”…you’re going to give me a deal?” (Alternative: “Huh? I’m sorry.  It sounded like you said, ‘separation from God.’  I just want to know how much I owe you.”)

LOU: “Nope, I meant DEATH….listen, I’m already giving you a deal.  You don’t have to die physically today.  You can put down a little spiritual death and pay the rest later.” (Alternative: “That IS what I said.  Your total is separation from God.”)

PETEY: “Spiritual death?  What do you mean?”  (Alternative: “Separation from God?  What do you mean?”)

LOU: “Between you and God.  This stuff poisons your relationship with Him.  It won’t kill it off completely, but it makes it plenty sick.  So, paper or plastic?”

PETEY: “Uh, well, I guess I better put some stuff back.  Take this and this off.  How much do I owe you now?”

 

LOU: “Total’s still DEATH.” (Alternative: “separation from God.”)

PETEY: “Wait!  That’s not fair!  I took some stuff away.  How can you charge the same price?  Okay, all I want is this Little White Lie.  Ring that up.”

LOU: “Read the sign, will you, [Points to sign.] It clearly says, ‘The cost of sin is death.  Romans 6:23.’  That means little sins and big sins.  They are all the same price.  So what’s it gonna be?”  (Alternative: “separation from God.”)

PETEY: “I’ll tell you what it’s going to be!  I’m going to put in a complaint!  Your name is ‘Lou.’  Is that as in, ‘Lou-ser?’”

LOU: “Full name is Lou Cipher.  You can complain all you want.  Management knows what I’m doing, and I’ve got their approval.  Hey, look at me when I’m talking to you.”

[PETEY has noticed a receipt on the counter.]

PETEY: “Hey, what’s this?  You didn’t tell me about this.  It’s a receipt for all my sins, and it says it’s paid!  I don’t have to pay you!”

LOU: “Oh, great, another one of those!  Yeah, Management’s got a policy of paying for the sins of anybody that wants to apply the last part of the sign.”

PETEY: “What last part of the sign?  I didn’t see anything.”

LOU: “Well, you don’t expect me to advertise something like that, do you? It’s in the small print.”  [Points out small print on sign.]

 

PETEY: [Reading]  “’The cost of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’  Huh.  Well, I’m going to accept Management’s generosity.  And you can keep those sins I picked out; I’m done shopping!”  [Exits]  (Alternative: “separation from God.”)

 

LOU: [Chasing after PETEY]  “Hey, wait!  I’ve got some stuff in the back you might want to take a look at…”  [Exits]

 

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Tool, Test or Territory? (CHALLENGE)


Time

15-20 minutes
Description

This Challenge looks at the events of Joseph’s life and asks whether God was using each one as a Tool (to shape Joseph), a Test (to reveal the quality of his heart) or new Territory (to give him more ministry for the Lord).

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Card stock paper – 1 sheet per person (Alternatively, you can use posterboard, but you will then need to glue the pyramid pattern to the posterboard.)
  • Printouts of the pyramid pattern – 1 per person (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Pyramid (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  It would be best if the pyramids were printed in color.)
  • Printouts of the Questions and Answers sheets for group leaders – 1 per group (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Questions and Answers Sheet (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Tool, Test or Territory? – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Glue sticks – several per group
  • Envelope – 1 per group
  • Rulers – several per group (to help with creasing)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Scissors or cutting tools – 1 per person

 

Preparation

  • Print out the pyramid patterns on card stock paper (or on regular paper and then glue them to posterboard).
  • Put enough pyramid patterns into each Ziplock bag for each participant in the group to have one.  (If you want to save time facilitating this challenge, you can cut out the pyramids yourself.)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Print the Questions and Answers document out (one per group) and put it in an envelope.  Then add it to the Ziplock bag for each group.
  • Put glue sticks and scissors (or cutting tools) in each Ziplock bag (enough for sharing or for each participant in each group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Tool, Test or Territory?” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, some pyramid patterns, glue, scissors, rulers and an envelope.”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and begin cutting out your pyramid patterns.  There are enough for everyone to have one.”
  • “After they are cut out, use the rulers to crease your pyramids along all the lines.”
  • “Then, put glue anywhere it says, ‘GLUE-GLUE-GLUE,’ and glue these tabs INSIDE your pyramid.  The square part is the bottom of the pyramid, and the four triangles are the top.”
  • “When you are done, your group leader will open the envelope to get the Questions and Answers sheet and ask you about different experiences in Joseph’s life.”
  • “Everyone in the group should vote about how you think God was using that experience in Joseph’s life.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a ‘Tool,’ show the ‘Tool’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Tool’ experience is when God uses it to shape our character to make us more like Jesus and develop skills / knowledge we can use to serve Him.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a “Test,’ show the ‘Test’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Test’ experience is when God uses it to test our hearts and show us our character and maturity.”
    • “If you think God was using it as a ‘Territory,’ show the ‘Territory’ side of the pyramid to your group leader.”
    • “A ‘Territory’ experience is when God uses it to invite us to take more territory (which is an area of influence or ministry) for His glory.”
    • “If you think God was using it for more than one reason, show the fourth side of your pyramid to your group leader.”
  • “Be ready…your group leader will probably ask you why you voted the way that you did.”
  • (Let them begin. When they finish making their pyramids, open the envelope and give them the quiz by reading off each experience and asking them to vote with their pyramids. After each vote, ask a few of the participants to tell you why they voted the way they did; then, share the correct answer and explanation from the sheet.  When they are finished with the quiz, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that the events of their lives can be used by God in a big way.)

 

Debriefing Questions

  1. What do you think about all these events in Joseph’s life?
  2. What did you learn about how God uses our experiences to prepare us for the future?
  3. What is a Tool, a Test or a new Territory God has recently used in your life?

 

Rhyme Time

Often what’s hard is a tool and a test;

God will help me to do what’s best!

 

 

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Filed under Challenges, Character, Choices, Coping skills, God's Plan, God's Will, Hardship, Joseph

God’s Timing (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge makes the point that God’s timing often seems slow to us but that we have to be careful not to rush ahead of God.  Things work out best when we follow closely behind Him.  The challenge is accomplish by staging a “race” between pouring a bottle of ketchup and pouring cups of water.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Bottles of ketchup – 1 per group (The glass bottles are best, because the ketchup comes out much more slowly, and you can’t squeeze them.  However, if you can’t find glass bottles, plastic will work.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – God’s Timing – Challenge Card (CHALLENGE),” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Prizes – 1 per person – recommend candy or something sweet to eat (The prize is used to create urgency for completing the task.  It should be something the participants are eager to get so that they will want to try to rush the task they are given.  This is to show that we often have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.)
  • Large, clear, plastic cups – 2 per person and one extra for the group leader (These are to pour the liquid into and from.  Each participant will need one, and one group leader will need one for each group.  The cups can have color, but the kids should be able to see through the plastic so that they can judge their progress against the leader’s cup.)
  • Ziplock bags – gallon size – 1 per group
  • Gallon jug of water – 1 per group
  • Red food coloring – 1 per group (OPTIONAL – used to make the water similar to the ketchup in color but not change the consistency of the liquid.  If you want, you can use this to illustrate that we are like God in some ways, but He is much better and worth waiting for – or so the ketchup commercials used to say.)

 


Preparation

  • Put enough plastic cups (2 for each person in each group plus one extra for the leader) in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of ketchup in each of the Ziplock bag.
  • Put a bottle of red food coloring in each of the Ziplock bags. (OPTIONAL)
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Set aside the gallon jugs of water where each group can get them.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag (one per group).
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “God’s Timing” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared kits.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a Challenge Card, cups, and a bottle of ketchup (and possibly a bottle of red food coloring).”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and read the Challenge Card.” (Allow them to read the Challenge Card.)
  • “Now, you will then have a race!”
  • “Your group leader will pour ketchup out into one of the cups.”
  • “The ketchup represents God’s timing – how fast or slow He chooses to move.”
  • “The ketchup cup represents God’s will.  When it is full, God’s will has been fully accomplished.”
  • “The rest of you will each get two cups and fill one full with water.”
  • “Then you will pour your water from that cup into your empty cup.”
  • “When everyone’s empty cups are full, you will each get a prize.”
  • “Sounds easy, right?”
  • “But here’s the hard part!”
  • “You can’t ever fill your cup faster than the cup that is being filled with ketchup.”
  • “In life, we often want to go faster than God’s timing, but this is a very bad thing to do.”
  • “We have to be patient and wait for the good things God has planned for us.”
  • “In the Bible, Joseph knew when he was 17 years old that he would one day rule over his brothers, but he had to patiently wait for 13 years before God’s will was accomplished in his life.”
  • “Back to our race – If one of your leaders notices that you have gotten ahead of the ketchup, you will have to pour the water back into your first cup and start all over.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we race?”  (Answer their questions.)
  • (Then, allow them to fill up their cups and add red food coloring (optional).  You can then begin the “race.”  If anyone’s cup becomes fuller than the ketchup cup, have them empty it and start over again.  If the ketchup just isn’t moving, try slightly tipping the bottle to let more air in to replace the ketchup that is coming out.  (If you have a squeezable bottle, try to squeeze it without being noticed.)  When you are finished, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is to help them remember that God is using even the times when we are waiting on Him.  If we trust Him and obey Him during these times, God will use them to make us ready for His blessings.)

 

Debriefing Questions

 

  1. How difficult was it to wait for “God’s timing” (the ketchup)?
  2. Have you ever had to wait for God to do something in your life?  How did that feel?
  3. Why do you think it’s important to wait for God to work in His time?
  4. How can you be better about waiting for God in the future?

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey,

God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

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Filed under Change, Discipline, Expectations, God's Plan, God's Will, Obedience, Object Lesson, Progress, Teaching, Waiting on the Lord

Lemons Into Lemonade (OBJ LESSON)


Time

10-15 minutes
Audience

Children, Teens, Adults

 

Description

This object lesson teaches about how God brings good things out of bad and uses the metaphor of turning lemons into lemonade.

Scriptures

  •   Romans 8:28

Materials

  • Lemons – enough for everyone to have a wedge after you cut them up and 5 or 6 for you to juice at the front of the room
  • Lemonade – enough for everyone to have some (I recommend Capri Sun Lemonade pouches for the ease of preparation, distribution and clean-up.)
  • Knife (to cut the lemons)
  • Juicer (manual or electric)
  • Bowl or Ziplock bag to hold the lemon wedges
  • Cup or bowl to catch the juice
  • Sugar (1 cup should be enough for the amount of lemonade you are making)
  • Water (approximately 2 quarts)
  • Pitcher (one)
  • Spoon (for stirring the lemonade)
  • Table to work on

Preparation

  • Slice lemons into wedges.
  • Set up all your materials on a table at the front.
  • Enlist a few helpers to help you pass out lemons and lemonade at different times during the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “How many of you have tasted a lemon before?” (As you talk, juice five or six lemons into your cup or bowl, and have someone pass around the lemon wedges to everyone in the audience.)
  •  “Why don’t we all take a taste of the lemons you’ve been given.” (Demonstrate what you want them to do, and observe them tasting their lemons.  Comment on the sour faces.)
  • “They are pretty sour, aren’t they?”  (Continue juicing your lemons as you talk.)
  • “They make you think twice before taking a second bite, I bet.”
  • “You know, sometimes life is pretty sour. I bet this is not the first time you made that face.”
  • “The truth is, bad things sometimes happen to good people.”
  • “Sometimes it’s not your fault.”
  • “You may not have done anything to deserve it, but you are suffering anyway.”
  • “Maybe a bully picks on you or your brother takes your stuff or your sister tells a lie about you…”
  • “Those could be pretty sour experiences, and they might make you want to make the same face you made a minute ago.”
  • “But you know what? When life gives you lemons, God makes lemonade!”
  • “Yep, He uses the bad stuff that happens to us to make us better. He doesn’t always take the bad stuff away. Often, He sweetens it.” (Pour the juice, water and some of your sugar into the pitcher and stir.)
  • “One day, the same bully who picked on you may become your friend.”
  • “Your brother took your old stuff, but you got something better.”
  • “Your sister told a lie about you, but she apologized later.”
  • “God takes lemons and makes lemonade.” (Taste, make sour face, add more sugar and stir.)
  • “It may take some time for God to sweeten up your lemon juice, but I promise He will if you will trust him with your lemons.” (Taste and smile.)
  • “Ahhh! That’s good stuff! How’s your lemonade?”  (Show mock surprise when they protest that they only have lemons.)
  • “What? All you’ve got are sour lemons?”
  • “Let’s ask God to make those lemons into some lemonade.” (Signal some helpers to get ready to pass out lemonade as you pray.)
  • (PRAY) “Lord, all of these kids have gotten some lousy lemons in their lives. Will you please take those sour lemons and turn them into sweet lemonade for each person in this room? We thank you for your faithful hand in our lives, and we give you every lemon that’s ever happened to us. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”  (Signal your helpers to pass out the lemonade.)
  • “Now, let’s have some lemonade to celebrate what God’s going to do with our lemons one day.”  (The Rhyme Time below can be used to reinforce the message of the lesson.  You can also have a volunteer read Romans 8:28 to show how God promises to make all things work for the good of those who love Him.)

 

Rhyme Time

If we trust Him and obey, God makes bad things go OUR way!

 

 

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Filed under Abundance, acceptance, blessing, Bullying, Challenges, Change, Conflict Resolution, God's Plan, God's Protection, Healing, learning, Lesson, Object Lesson, Overcoming obstacles, Problem solving, Transformation